Are Hardwood Houses Termite Proof?

Building and pest inspection

A common myth about timber de-bunked!

There are a few common myths that our inspectors hear on a day to day basis. Whilst carrying out Building And Pest Inspections on The Gold Coast  ,Brisbane and Northern N.S.W one of the biggest Statements we hear or get asked is “The house is built from hardwood, termites don’t eat hardwood right?”

The biggest mistake a purchaser can make is to think because the house is hardwood there will be no termites. Yes, some hardwoods may be Termite resistant to an extent or at least slow to consume for Termite activity. However, it may all depend on whether the milled timber is treated or in fact the content of heartwood or sapwood and the species.

We must remember most Australian native trees are hardwoods and are a termites natural food source. Coptotermes spp. will hollow out living hardwood trees for ideal nesting habitats.

Another piece of information most people are not aware or overlook is that most termite baiting and monitoring stations contain and use Hardwood Timber. Essentially we are using hardwood to attract termites to the termite baiting and monitoring stations,This piece of information debunks the myth in its self.

A typical case study shown below was a hardwood framed home built in the late 80s and was attacked from the subfloor to the roof by Coptotermes acinaciformis in Northern NSW. This homeowner was not engaging a Pest control company for annual Termite inspections and was under the assumption that termites do not consume or eat Hardwood.


Hard and Soft wood Explained

One difference between softwood and hardwood is a hardwood tree typically is a slower growing tree and is considered a tree that shed their leaves annually or a flowering tree. Shedding leaves or flowers leads to a denser wood, whereas softwood trees means they are a evergreen tree which do not shed their leaves and do not have flowers however can be a cone bearing tree.

Some people would think it is simple, hardwoods are hard and durable verses soft workable softwoods. This happens to be generally true, but there are exceptions, such in these cases. Wood from a yew tree — a softwood thats relatively hard  and wood from a balsa tree, a hardwood that is softer than most softwoods.

But then we add Termites, Some species of termites prefer hardwood and some prefer softwood timber. It is best practice to carry out an annual termite inspection regardless of the species of timber your home is constructed from.

 


How do I avoid termite attack?

  1. Ensure a building and pest is carried out before you purchase a property
  2. If you own a home, maintain annual inspections every 6-12 months in accordance with Australian standards.
  3. Install adequate termite protection if your licensed pest inspector recommends it.
  4. Remove or fix any issues that have been outlined in a termite inspection report.

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